(Los Angeles) -" At 5:00 AM today, Los Angeles Mayor Elect Antonio Villaraigosa called a press conference to announce a tentative agreement between UNITE HERE Local 11 and the Los Angeles Hotel Employers Council. The last minute deal came just in time to call off a scheduled lockout of 2500 hotel workers from seven of the cities’ most famous hotels.
-�I am happy to say that cooler heads have prevailed, and we have arrived at an agreement and avoided a lockout,-� said Mayor-Elect Villaraigosa. -�Now we can work together to start bringing tourists and conventions back to Los Angeles. Today, we are saying to the world -�Welcome to Los Angeles.’-�
-�I feel very emotional because I woke up at 3 am in the morning expecting to be locked out, but at about 4:30 we got the great news that we won,-� says Maribel Barrenchea, a housekeeper at the Bonaventure, for 8 years, -�At first I couldn’t believe, but now we are celebrating. Somebody pinch me!-�
-�I am so grateful to the other workers, the city council members, and the new mayor and others in the community stood by us when we went on strike. Together we won,-� says Morena Hernandez a Hyatt West Hollywood housekeeper.
The tentative agreement is subject to ratification by the workers. Key agreements include a $.65 wage increase over the life of the contract, maintenance of free family health care benefits, and a new provision which will allow workers to use sick time to deal with family issues. Workers will get some of their raise retroactively, and the agreement will expire in November of 2006. Workers will vote on ratification early next week.
The contract covers 2500 housekeepers, bellmen, front desk workers, banquet servers, cooks and other workers at these hotels: Hyatt West Hollywood, Westin Bonaventure, Sheraton Universal, Regent Beverly Wilshire, the Westin Century Plaza, the Wilshire Grand, and the Millennium Biltmore.
-�This is a wonderful day in Los Angeles. Good jobs and benefits make strong families and communities, and thanks to our new mayor, our members and the Employers Council, we are creating a better Los Angeles,-� says Maria Elena Durazo, President of UNITE HERE Local 11. -�Because of this agreement, both local workers and the visitors who fill the hotels and count on their service will get what they need.-�
For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact Amanda Cooper (917-533-4050) or Hilda Delgado (213-276-3375).